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it's always you, crystal snow

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Sometimes, Bam dreams.

Actually, he dreams a lot. He dreams of faraway lands, of heroes and gods, of faces that seem familiar even though sometimes he has never seen them before in his life.

His best friend Rachel always laughs, tells him to get his head out of the clouds, but how could she possibly understand? It has always been easier for her to separate dreams from reality.

Sometimes, Bam thinks that the life he's living is a dream, and the dreams he sees are his life. But that's impossible, isn't it? The vividness of dreams cannot possibly compare to the sensations of life.

That is what he believes, until one cold winter night when he is ten years old.

It's snowing outside, his and Rachel's little run-down hut buried deep in fluffy white. In summer, they would sleep on the grass outside instead, counting stars instead of sheep. It's much too cold for that now, and both of them are huddled under thin blankets, barely warmed by the little flickers of flame in the fireplace. They barely have enough money to keep themselves fed, let alone buy coal for a fire. Having a bed that doesn't collapse is a miracle, even though it does leave them with constant back aches.

He and Rachel fall asleep curled into each other, struggling to preserve what little heat they have.

Bam wakes up in a palace of ice. Everything seems to be magnified, grandeur in every tile, every surface. Somehow, he knows that the chandelier above him is also made of ice, despite its intricate design. His feet are bare, yet the floor is not cold. It feels hard under his feet, solid, steady.

"What are you doing here?" A voice asks. It comes from a boy barely older than he is. The boy is frowning, hugging a stuffed toy dragon to his chest. He's blue all over, from tips of his snowy hair to the ice of his eyes, from the smooth satin of his pajamas to the fluffy slippers on his feet.  He looks a little lost, to be honest.

"I'm dreaming," Bam tells him. He has always been a lucid dreamer, in this case he can tell that he's dreaming by the lack of cold in this ice palace that probably belongs to the other boy. The boy's eyes are so blue. Can eyes really be that blue? They look like some jewel he had seen before, something blue and beautiful and probably worth more than his life.

The boy's frown deepens, blue eyes narrowing in suspicion. What was that jewel again… Cobalt? Sapphire? Suspendium? "But this is my dream."

Oh. Well that changes things. "It's a very nice dream you're having," Bam offers. "It's nicer than any other dream I've been in."

The blue boy hugs his stuffed dragon tighter. "Do you visit people's dreams a lot?" Bam can tell he's trying to hide his curiosity. " I've never been in somebody else's dream before."

Bam hums. "This is the first time I've been caught in someone's dream. My friend Rachel never believes me when I tell her, but you do, right? It's your dream I'm in."

"You're interesting," the blue boy declares. He extends his hand.  "Let's be friends."

He'll probably never meet this blue boy, if this dream is like all his dreams from before, but still, the brunette grins. "I'm Bam! What should I call you, friend?"

The other boy slings his plush over a shoulder with a pretty smile. Rachel tells him only girls are pretty, but Bam doesn't know how else to describe the other boy except 'blue' and 'very, very pretty'. "Call me Blue."

They shake hands to solidify their new friendship. Blue's hand is so cold Bam wakes up with a flail and a shriek.

He hears a feminine groan. "Bam, you kicked me off the bed. It's so cold."

The brunette rolls over on the small bed, seeing his blonde friend lying on the cold, hard ground. "I'm so sorry, Rachel! I didn't mean to!"

Rachel pulls herself onto the bed, burrowing into the blankets. She has always been a blanket hog, but the cold is a small price to pay for kicking her off the bed. "It's fine, Bam. I know you didn't mean to."

Bam brightens. "I made a friend last night, Rachel! His name is Blue! He caught me in his dream!" Rachel doesn't answer, so he barges on excitedly. "He had this really nice ice castle! His hair was blue! Have you ever seen blue hair before?"

Rachel's eyes widen and an emotion he can't remember the name of flashes across her face before she schools her expression into something proper. "Forget about him, Bam. It was just a dream."

Bam knows that Rachel gets jealous easily, knows that sometimes she lies to him. But sometimes, he feels like she is keeping a life-changing secret from him.  Years later, he learns that the emotion that sometimes flickers across her face is called fear.  (When he tells Blue about Rachel, the blue boy doesn't seem to like Rachel very much either.  He calls her a 'control freak', but Bam isn't sure what it means.  He defends Rachel anyway.)

He doesn't tell her that he meets Blue when he sleeps again, and again, and again. It happens for years - seven or eight, give or take.

If Bam is the night, Rachel is the sun, who seems to get further and further away the more he gives chase, and Blue is the moon, a new discovery, a companion when times get dark and lonely.  Bam learns that Blue likes feeling clever and feeling in control.  He likes to teach Bam things, likes to see the excitement flashing across the brunette's face whenever he grasps the concept of something new.  Rachel taught him how to read and write, the basics of living in a society, but that's it.  Blue teaches him about mathematics: "If you had ten stars and you gave me three, how many would you have left?" "I wouldn't have any, because I'd give them all to you." "I appreciate the gesture, Bam, but the answer is seven.") and about geography ("Why can we see the moon at night?" "Easy, it doesn't want us to be scared when it gets dark, so it copies the sun to give us light! Rachel still gets scared when there aren't a lot of stars and the clouds cover the moon, though. Are you scared of the dark, Blue?" "Not anymore. I don't have to face my demons when I'm with you.").  

Bam has seventeen winters come and go, but Blue always meets him at the ice palace they had first met at. Bam's hair is shorter now, a mess of brown curls on top of his head instead of a waterfall that flows down to his waist. He's taller, broader, older. The passing of time has given Blue similar treatment - he's only a little taller than Bam now, leaner but not meaner, sharper around the edges after the loss of baby fat. His hair falls down to his shoulders in a perfectly straight halo of sky, although there's a little bounce at the bottom that Blue occasionally lets him play with. He still doesn't know whether to call Blue 'handsome' or 'pretty', but Blue's probably a mix of both. Blue's eyes still look like his expensive suspendium earrings, but there's a weariness to them now that Bam doesn't like.

"Hey, Bam."

"Yes, Blue?" They're standing on a balcony that takes their weight although it shouldn't, staring at a sunset that isn't really there.  There's a sprawling paper town underneath them, with little paper people.  Blue looks wistful, like he has lost something very important to him. Bam does not like to pry. Neither of them really know each other, but Bam likes to think Blue trusts him enough to tell Bam his secrets in his own time.

"Do you think we'll ever meet each other in real life?"

"Who knows?" He's never met anybody in his dreams. How likely is it for him to meet a giantess with a fire elephant that reeks of ancientness, or winged fighter princesses, or even a real crocodile? The furthest Rachel has ever let him go is to the ends of the village they live in, and it's a very small village.  "I'd like to meet you one day, though. I wonder if we would meet as complete strangers, or if we'd recognize each other."

Blue huffs out a laugh. There's a small smile on his face - Bam always likes making him smile. Blue rarely ever does that these days. He's been distracted lately.  A look of something flashes across his face, and Blue's smile falls. "I don't know, Bam."

"Do- Do you not like me anymore? I know I'm not really that interesting, and Rachel always yells at me now and says I'm too clingy-"

"What? No! Why would you think that?" Blue looks almost angry. "Of course I still like you. I like you a lot. You're my first friend. You know how people say 'a friend to many is a friend to none'?" Bam cocks his head, and Blue leans closer to him. Their shoulders are touching, Bam's warm and Blue's cold. He would offer the other boy a coat, but he doesn't have any he can afford to give away. "I don't know if you think the same about me, I'm just some boy you in a dream, but I like to think that I mean something to you. I just-" The blue boy sighs heavily. "I'm just scared you'll hate me when you know who I really am."

Bam frowns. "You're my friend, I could never hate you. You're really nice, and smart, and pretty. You've never been mean to me. You're more patient than Rachel is."

Blue lays his head on Bam's shoulder. In the light of the rising sun, he looks terribly small, terribly scared. Bam has never wanted to hug him more, but Blue is not a big fan of touches and seems scared of affection. Him leaning on Bam for support feels unreal, but maybe that's because it is. "You're too good, Bam."

"But so are you! You're good too, Blue!"

Blue laughs, ruffles his hair. He still looks sad, like he's dreaming of something he can never have, but he doesn't look so fragile anymore. "You're so stubborn, Bam. That's one of the things I love about you."

Love is another thing Blue never speaks about. Bam knows he has brothers and sisters, and that they don't get along. Blue teaches him about math and geography, about things that were physical and easy to understand, but Bam is the one who helped him with his emotions, taught him to let go and follow his heart instead of his head sometimes. Feeling bold, he dares to ask what else Blue loves about him.

Blue's eyes widen before they shrink into little crescents. Blue is pretty when he's sad, prettier when he smiles, prettiest when he's laughing and grinning so widely a little dimple appears on his right cheek. Bam has a matching deeper dimple on his left. "Where did you learn to be so smooth, Bam?"

Bam grins back. "I learned only from the best!" Blue may not be the most affectionate, but he is better at flirtation with his suave words and smug confidence.  Bam has never felt so warm before. It's a giddy little feeling that spreads with every beat of his heart, painting roses on his cheeks. What's that feeling called?

Blue stretches against the railing, spine arching with a loud crack. "You're too nice, Bam. I've never seen anyone like you before."

"There's nobody like me," Bam agrees amicably, "but there's no one like you either. You're always softer when you're with me. You're sharper when you don't know it's me here."

Blue's eyes widen. "Sometimes I wonder if you actually know me, but then I realize you'd probably be scared of me."

Bam gingerly wraps an arm around Blue's shoulders, scared that the blue boy will hiss and shy away like a cat. Once, his neighbor's cat scratched him for no apparent reason. Are all cats so evil? Apparently, there are friendly and occasionally affectionate cats too, because Blue leans into the touch. Maybe he's cold, and Bam has enough warmth for him to steal. "If I ever meet you, I'll show you how I see you. I'll show you how good you really are." Because that's what love is, right? Kindness and affection and seeing good behind flaws?

"I want to tell you a story," Blue says suddenly. "It's about a boy called Khun Aguero Agnis. He does bad things sometimes. He lies a lot and he doesn't trust anyone. He hurt a lot of people. You're probably not going to like him."

"You know I love stories, Blue."

"You're not going to like this," Blue warns.

"Tell me anyway."

Blue seems like he has something bothering him, something heavy he needs to get off his chest in order to breathe. Bam wants to help him in any way he can, even if it's just being quiet and listening.  Blue takes a deep breath, snaps his fingers, and transports them to a faraway place.  They're in a city of temples and pantheons, of white lilies and heartseases.  It seems familiar, like Bam has been there in a past life or a dream.  If it's a dream, he can't remember it.

Blue takes a deep breath.  "This is Heaven.  It's where Aguero grew up." Bam subconsciously grabs Blue's hand when a girl with silvery hair and a pair of feathery white wings flies past them.  Bam can hear the whoosh of wind, feel it tousling his hair.  "You see that girl's wings? She's an angel.  Aguero was an angel too.  He had really nice wings he could fly with, and he lived in heaven with all his angel siblings.  He was good enough to have the honor of a halo, which was only offered to the best angels.  He only got that halo because he's selfish and greedy and not afraid to hurt people if he doesn't get caught doing it." Blue flinches violently at the sight of a young woman with long blue hair and a halo on her head, cold fingers gripping Bam's warm ones.  "That's his sister, Maschenny.  She's an archangel, which is like a really special kind of angel.  Only the ones who follow the king of heaven's rules get to be archangels. Some of them become guardian angels, and some of them become a special group called Princesses."

The scene changes, and they're in a pantheon.  On a pedestal, there is a familiar-looking boy with sky blue hair and cobalt blue eyes being crowned with a halo by an older man with equally blue hair and blue eyes.  Both of them have white wings on their backs, shining halos on their heads.  Bam shields his eyes from the brightness.  "Aguero's father, Khun Eduan, is one of the king's closest friends.  He was really proud when Aguero got a halo.  The king's name is Jahad, by the way.  He's the king, but he's not God.  He might be all-powerful, but he's not all-loving."

A flash of white, and they're looking at a mirror.  The mirror's frame is gilded with gold, the surface silver and reflective.  Bam and Blue don't appear in it.  "When he was younger, Aguero tried to help his sister Maria to become an archangel so she would be happy, so he made a deal with a warlock.  He traded away some of his precious feathers to the warlock for this mirror." Blue sounds so bitter.  "The warlock told Aguero it would show goodness, and Aguero thought Jahad would want something like that.  So he gave it to Maria, and Maria presented it to Jahad as a gift.  But Jahad saw something else in that mirror.  He was going to banish Maria from heaven, but Maria pointed her finger at Aguero."

The next scene in the dream is of the blue angel boy, but there is no longer a halo on his head.  He's lying unconscious on the floor, and his wings are gone too.  In its place is blood, two long and jagged gashes on the boy's bare back.  Bam claps a hand over his mouth in horror, but Blue's eyes are empty and devoid of emotion.  "Eduan heard that his son sold his feathers, so he cut off his wings.  I won't show you what happened next, and I won't show you what happened before either, but Aguero was exiled.  The other angels took his halo, his wings, and his immortality.  Jahad threw him out to live in pain and remain in the mortal world for the rest of his life as a fallen angel, and Eduan cursed him and punished him to bring winter to the mortals and watch them die because of him."

Bam can feel tears sliding down his cheeks.  Khun Aguero Agnis is none other than his Blue, a broken boy with a broken heart who has barely learned to breathe, an angel fallen from grace and seeking solace and sunlight.  "Why didn't you tell me?"

Blue looks at him. His eyes are too old, too tired, broken in ways Bam doesn't know how to fix. "I told you you'd never love the real me, didn't I?"

Bam wakes up with a shuddering gasp. He touches his face. His cheeks are wet, and the house is empty.

He and Rachel have enough to better furnish their house now, keep them warm and their bellies fed. Bam has started working for the baker next door, and he has made friends with the baker's son, Shibisu, Shibisu's swordsman friend, Hatz, and their favorite regular, hungry little Anaak, who seems to eat pie and nothing else. He has been in all their dreams before - he knows that Shibisu has nightmares about losing the shop, that Hatz dreams about honor and glory and fighting for their country, that Anaak had recently lost her mother but the only connection she has is the delicious chicken pie her father used to make for them.  Rachel, on the other hand, is barely home these days.  Time has not been kind to his blonde friend - she's grown older, taller, tired.  Just like Blue, she rarely smiles anymore, but unlike Blue, there seems to be nothing Bam can do to bring her happiness.  Lately, she's been coming home with various little cuts and scrapes everywhere, but Bam has no idea where they're from.

Bam is alone with his tears, and out there somewhere, there is a blue boy called Khun Aguero Agnis who brings the bitter cold of winter to the world and to himself.

The door clicks and swings open.  Rachel and Bam stare at each other for a while in awkward silence - it has been days since they had last seen each other, Bam is rubbing water out of his eyes, Rachel has a stray white feather in her hair and a crossbow slung over a shoulder.  "Morning, Rachel." The brunette breaks the silence.  "Did you fight a swan? I thought that was my job."

His jokes are lame, and they both know it.  Fighting swans is painful and not funny, Bam has fought one before.  It was an accident, though.  "I think it's time for you to move out."

Bam's heart sputters to a stop in his chest.  "What?" Is Rachel kicking him out for good? This house is as much his as it is hers.  He can't remember much of his life before he turned five, but this house is all he's ever known.  Where would he go? What would he do? "What do you mean, Rachel?"

Rachel's eyes are hard.  "I mean what I said, Bam.  You're old enough to fend for yourself now.  I've protected you for long enough."

"Protected me from what? The cold? The dangerous world outside?"

Rachel doesn't answer, her lips pressed into a tight line.  Wordlessly, she throws all of his belongings into a duffel bag - he never had many belongings to begin with - and shoves it into his hands.  "You need to go, Bam."

Bam wipes the last of his tears, flings them off to god knows where.  He doesn't know where he'll go, what he'll do.  He should've listened to Blue - Khun Aguero Agnis, apparently - when he said people like her would only get worse.  Maybe he'll find Blue.  Fallen angel or not, they're friends, right? Blue said they were friends.  "Fine."

He makes sure to slam the door behind him.

"Hey, Bam! Where are you bringing all that stuff to?" Shibisu is doing his daily bread runs for his father, and Hatz is beside him, looking grumpy and content at the same time.  He doesn't see Anaak - they're more of a duo than a trio anyway.  Anaak is only ever there for the weekly chicken pies.  "Whoa, dude, your eyes are red."

"I just got evicted." The words sound sour in his mouth.  "Speaking of which, do you know if angels exist?"

"That sucks, man.  I knew there was something up with that Rachel chick.  I don't know how you put up with her." Bam doesn't bother defending Rachel this time.  The lies were fine at the beginning, but then she started keeping secrets too.  And to think he told her most things about himself - his only secret was Blue.  He couldn't even lie - lying always makes his heart race and his jaw lock in place, like he's physically unable to do it.  "And angels? I don't know, man.  Why'd you ask?"

"I think they do," Hatz says slowly.  "I think I've seen one before."

Bam turns to Hatz so quickly he gives himself whiplash.  "You have? What did they look like? Did they have wings? Or a halo? Were they blue?"

The swordsman frowns, trying to remember.  "He was white, actually.  Kinda short.  He called himself Hoaqin.  He said he was my guardian angel, and then I tried to fight him."

Bam and Shibisu's responses are vastly different.  "You tried to fight an angel?" versus "Did you win?"

Hatz gives Shibisu a dirty look.  "I lost.  Really badly.  But he said I was 'cute' for a human, and my sword-fighting skills have been getting better faster than I thought. For an angel, he is not particularly honorable, but he is a good opponent. I want to fight him again." Bam believes him - the swordsman would not dishonor his samurai's code by lying. "Why do you want to know about angels?"

Bam exhales. How does he explain this without sounding like a madman? "Remember the blue boy I mentioned?"

Shibisu nods sagely. "The pretty one you talk about pretty much every day with those dreamy eyes? Yeah, how could we forget?"

Bam ignores his red cheeks. "He told me his story last night, and he told me his real name. He used to be an angel, but he made a mistake and he was punished to stay here where we normal people are and bring winter to mankind." The three boys shiver violently when a particularly cold gust of wind blows through the street. "He had his wings cut off, and he hates himself, and you know how bad I feel when people I like are sad, right?" He wraps his coat tighter around himself. "I think he wants me to find him. He pretty much dared me to fall in love with him."

Hatz raises an eyebrow. "Aren't you already in love with him?"

Bam short circuits. Is he in love with Blue? Does the night love the moon? Or are they merely companions relying on each other, one for light and guidance and the other for space and comfort? "I like him a lot," he ventures, "and I think I love him, but I don't think I'm in love with him just yet."

Shibisu sighs in relief. "And here I was, getting scared that you'll elope with a man you've never really met."

Bam cocks his head. "What's 'eloping'?"

"Never mind!" Shibisu says a little too cheerfully. "Do you want to find out where your Ice Angel is?"


"You're going to have to head to the village across the forest," Shibisu tells him seriously. The expression he wears now is the same one he uses in ghost stories to scare Bam. "There's a path going straight through the middle. If you don't stray, you'll get across in an hour or two. When you get there, look for Hwaryun the psychic lady. She's a warlock, so if anybody's going to know where your Blue is its her."

Bam pulls the other two boys into a hug. "Thank you both so much!"

Shibisu ruffles his hair. It doesn't feel as nice as how Blue does it. "Remember to come back some time, yeah? Don't forget about us."

Hatz yelps when Bam tightens his grip. "I won't! Bye Shibisu, bye Hatz! Tell Anaak and Mr Baker too!" With that he's gone, running deep into the forest.

He's halfway there when he hears a scream from deep within the woods. It sounds like… "Anaak?"

There's a manic male laugh, followed by another scream. "Help me!"

"Anaak!" There's a trail of blood in the snow, and even though Bam doesn't know how to fight. A voice in his head warns him not to leave the path well traveled, but Anaak is in danger. "Don't worry, okay? I'm coming to find you!"

He reaches a clearing, where Anaak is lying in a pool of her own blood. There's a girl with short and choppy brown hair standing protectively in front of her, with pure white wings on her back and a shining halo on her head. She's an angel. But there's also another angel, a tiny one who's licking his lips at the sight of Bam. "Well well," he cackles, "King Jahad will be pleased to see the corpses of a warlock and the child his first love had with his worst enemy."

Bam glances at Anaak and the angel girl.  The angel girl looks vaguely familiar - had he seen her in a dream long ago?  Which one of them is the warlock, and which one is the lovechild?

The tiny angel licks his lips again and whistles loudly.  Bam barely has time to shield his face with his arms before a murderous flock of doves come flying at him.  Is this how he's going to die? Attacked by birds? He'll never see Blue! He squeezes his eyes shut. Goodbye, he thinks, I'm sorry.

A second passes, then two.

A boot meets his face.

He yelps, tumbling to his feet.  Standing over him like some guardian angel is, in fact, his probable guardian angel.  His guardian angel is a young woman with bright red eyes, long dark hair tied back into a ponytail with a red ribbon, and has pure white wings spread out behind her.  Most of the doves rear back and fly the other way, but a few of them don't make it in time and smack right into her wings.  Bam almost feels bad.  "For such a cute boy, you sure aren't very bright."

Ouch.  He's being insulted by some angel lady he has never seen in his life.  "I'm sorry," he mumbles, thoroughly chastised under the force of her crimson glare.  "May I ask who you are?"

She grins, puffing her not-very-ample chest out.  She's pretty, but Blue is prettier. "My name is Ha Yuri! I'm your guardian angel." She grins at him, and he hesitantly smiles back.  Something about this Ha Yuri terrifies him, but he's not sure what.  It's not the fact that she kicked him in the face, that's for sure.  "Don't be scared of me! I won't bite you unless you ask me to."

Now that is both scary and baffling.  "Why would I ask anyone to bite me?"

Yuri waves a hand. "Never mind that, Bam. You're still too young." She turns to the tiny angel with her wings still spread out and shielding Bam. "Leave now, Lo Po Bia Ren. You have nothing to gain from threatening two Princesses of Jahad."

Lo Po Bia Ren pouts. "But that one is a forbidden bastard," he says while pointing at Anaak, "and that one is a cursed child." He points at Bam this time. "All monsters need to be disposed of before they grow powerful enough to topple the King."

Bam's apparent guardian angel sighs. "Kurudan?"

A giant man with a glowing hammer materializes in front of them. "Yes, Lady Yuri?"

"Get him out of my sight. He's threatening my cute charge."

"As you wish, my Lady." Kurudan smashes his hammer down on Ren's head, and they both disappear in a bright flash of light.

Bam lets out a strangled scream. "What just happened? Is Anaak okay? Who was that guy? Why did he say I was cursed?"

"I'm fine," Anaak grunts as she staggers to her feet. The gaping hole in her stomach is gone. "Auntie Endorsi helped."

The brunette angel, 'Auntie Endorsi', scowls. "How many times have I told you not to call me Auntie? It makes me feel old." When Anaak retorts that Endorsi is in fact old, the angel crosses her arms over her chest with a huff. "I should never have given you feathers. Oi, don't strain yourself, Anaak!"

"How do feathers help?"

Endorsi gives him a deadpan look. "Have you been living under a rock? Or inside a cave? You reek of demon but you don't seem to know a whole lot."

Bam ignores how Yuri and Endorsi have both called him stupid by now. "I only found out that angels existed yesterday. I don't even know what a demon is. Is it a type of fallen angel? Anaak, why are you green? Does blood loss turn you green?"

All three young women look at each other with worried eyes.  "Bam," Yuri asks as gently as she can, "what do you know about the supernatural world?"

Bam wracks his brain for all the information he knows. "I know that angels are from heaven, archangels are chosen by King Jahad, and that B- a fallen angel brings us winter? Also, I'm supposed to find Miss Hwaryun. She's a warlock and some kind of 'guide', I think."

"I'm a warlock too," mutters Anaak bitterly. "My mom was an archangel but she gave it all up to marry my dad and have me. That's why I'm green. It's a warlock thing. Isu and Hatz don't know, and I don't plan on telling them. I'm not even supposed to exist."

"Children of angels and humans are called warlocks," Endorsi pipes in, "children of angels and demons are fae. Demons live in hell. They're bad." She squints at him. "You're a direct descendant of a powerful demon and a powerful angel. I wonder how you came to be."

Was this what Rachel was protecting him from? Angels and demons and warlocks and fae? Either way, demons can't possibly be too bad. Angels are probably biased and petty, based on how they treated Aguero.

"Lady Yuri!" A dwarf with short silver hair and a massive backpack runs up to them, huffing and puffing with his hands on his knees.  Bam takes a second to think.  Do dwarves actually exist? If they don't, would it be insulting to call the short man a dwarf? "You need to stop flying off, I can't catch up to you!" He bobs his head politely at Endorsi and Anaak, who offer shallow head bobs in return.  He still looks miffed at Yuri.  When he sees Bam, he instinctively takes a step back, pulling the taller angel woman with him.  "Yuri, why are you protecting a dark fae?"

"Because he's cute?" Endorsi offers.  "If I didn't already have a charge I'd take him."

Yuri grins.  "Well, technically, he isn't my charge either, but he's cute and he doesn't have a guardian angel, so he's mine now." The dwarf splutters.  "Oh, don't be so uptight, Evan! What Jahad doesn't know won't hurt him." She grabs him by the top of his head.  "If you don't tattle, that is."

Evan grunts, trying to remove the angel's hands from his head.  "Please don't threaten me, Lady Yuri?"

Bam's head spins.  Jahad? Blue - Aguero - had mentioned that name.  What was he again? Bam can't remember.  And dark fae? What's that all about? "Excuse me," Bam peeps, "what is going on?"

Evan sighs.  "If only you weren't so reckless," he grumbles in Yuri's direction.  Yuri flips her ponytail over her shoulder with a huff, clearly not sharing the sentiment.

"You know what?" Yuri decides.  She grabs a feather on her wing, and tugs it off like she's pulling out a grey hair.  "Find the Seelie King, Urek Mazino, and tell him Ha Yuri sent you.  He'll have more answers."

"H- Huh? What's a Seelie?"

"You'll know when you get there!" Yuri answers him cheerily.  "You'll know it's him if he calls you baby on sight."

Evan splutters.  "Yuri! You can't give off your feathers like that! Don't you remember what happened to the boy who sold his feathers?"

"Khun Aguero Agnis?" Bam blurts.

Evan's eyes widen.  "How do you know his name?"


How is Bam going to explain his way out of this one?